About Kate Kirkpatrick
GGE Co-Festival Director
Kate Kirkpatrick knows a thing or two about running a successful event.
She spent many years moving around Australia working in events and tourism, working in the industry for her entire career. Moving back to Victoria 12 years and settling in the Grampians region where she now calls home with her partner and two girls, aged 5 and 7.
The mother of two served on the festival’s committee when she first moved to the region, before taking on the role as Co-Festival Director in 2016 with one of her business partners of Oregional Collective, Vanessa Briody.
“I love the location it’s based in at the foothills of the Grampians National Park and how it brings together our entire local and regional industry to showcase our amazing wines and products,” Kate says.
“Plus there are so many great people involved with the event and seeing everyone come together each year like a big family is very rewarding.”
Kate says Grampians Grape Escape is constantly evolving.
“With more than 130 exhibitors and a huge entertainment offering there is something for everyone and I enjoy working with the board on fresh new ideas and strategies we can look to offer,” she says.
What takes months and months of hard work and planning, always comes together bigger and better than the previous year. Kate explains there is one moment of the weekend, which next year will be on the first weekend of May, that she relishes most.
“With any event, I always take a moment before event day or gates opening to reflect on all the hard work, long hours, contributions and details that got the team to this point of event delivery,” she says.
“GGE is majestic in its location and brings a whole new dynamic under the base of the Grampians National Park – it’s pretty special to see everyone enjoying something you’ve helped to create in one place.”
As a working mum, Kate admits she is always on the go, juggling work and family life, and there is truly no typical for her household.
“During the week it’s kids on buses to school, then most often I work from my home office unless I’m on the road for meetings across the region and then spend the afternoon with the girls or after school sporting commitments,” she says.
“I prep meals in advance so dinner times can be as easy as possible and once the girls are in bed, it’s back on the computer”.
“Weekends can be chaotic depending on plans as living regionally you are always in the car and we need to be super organised on logistics”.
“Living remotely with limited support is a real challenge when you run your own business and so does my partner.
“At the end of the day our family has made the decision to build up our businesses to give our girls the best opportunities in their lives and teach them about strong work ethic, resilience, commitment and relationships along the way.”
This lifestyle, as hectic as it is, suits Kate, to a tee.
And once you get to know her better, you realise Kate is the epitome of her work, fun, vibrant and committed to delicious food and wine.
“Those who know me know that I love to wear lots of colour – as one of my business partner’s says ‘you’ll never see Kate in beige’,” Kate laughs.
“I love a good bottle of wine with great regional produce and catching up socially,” which Kate will try and do more of in 2019.
“I love having my own business and the flexibility that brings with both work and family and how I can create our own path to suit both.
“I do what I do because I love it and funnily it never actually feels like work.”